School of Public Health receives 7-year accreditation

The University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health received a seven-year accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) this week. This is the longest-term accreditation offered by CEPH.

The UNT Health Science Center School of Public Health is one of only 38 accredited schools of public health in the nation.

According to the CEPH Web site, CEPH accreditation promotes the health, safety and welfare of society, while providing assurance that the school has been evaluated and has met accepted standards established by and with the profession.

It provides assurance that the curriculum covers essential skills and knowledge needed for today’s public health jobs and promotes professional mobility and enhances employment opportunities for graduates of the school.

Accreditation involves practitioners in the establishment of standards and assures that educational requirements reflect the current training needs of the profession, while advancing the field by promoting standards of practice and advocating rigorous preparation.

It also promotes ongoing self-evaluation and continuous improvement and provides an effective system for accountability; accreditation enhances the schoolâ??s national reputation and represents peer recognition.

The School of Public Health was last accredited by CEPH in 2002 for a five-year term after the schoolâ??s 1999 establishment. This is the longest term awarded to a new school of public health.

In 1992, a steering committee of community leaders and health professionals proposed establishing a public health school in north Texas to train highly qualified individuals in the areas of public health practice and research.

The Health Science Center then launched a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program in 1995. Enrollment in the MPH program quickly exceeded initial expectations, with more than 100 students enrolled within three years. U.S. News & World Report soon ranked the degree program among the top 20 in community health in the country.

In 1999, a full School of Public Health was established, and a doctoral program was added.

To be accredited, an institution must offer masterâ??s degrees in all five disciplines of public health: epidemiology, biostatistics, health management and policy, environmental and occupational health, and social and behavioral sciences. It must also offer a doctoral degree in at least one of the disciplines. The School of Public Health exceeds this criterion by offering doctoral degrees in four of the disciplines. 

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